Regulation of dendrite growth and maintenance by exocytosis

Yun Peng, Jiae Lee, Kimberly Rowland, Yuhui Wen, Hope Hua, Nicole Carlson, Shweta Lavania, Jay Z. Parrish, Michael D. Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Scopus citations


Dendrites lengthen by several orders of magnitude during neuronal development, but how membrane is allocated in dendrites to facilitate this growth remains unclear. Here, we report that Ras opposite (Rop), the Drosophila ortholog of the key exocytosis regulator Munc18-1 (also known as STXBP1), is an essential factor mediating dendrite growth. Neurons with depleted Rop function exhibit reduced terminal dendrite outgrowth followed by primary dendrite degeneration, suggestive of differential requirements for exocytosis in the growth and maintenance of different dendritic compartments. Rop promotes dendrite growth together with the exocyst, an octameric protein complex involved in tethering vesicles to the plasma membrane, with Rop-exocyst complexes and exocytosis predominating in primary dendrites over terminal dendrites. By contrast, membrane-associated proteins readily diffuse from primary dendrites into terminals, but not in the reverse direction, suggesting that diffusion, rather than targeted exocytosis, supplies membranous material for terminal dendritic growth, revealing key differences in the distribution of materials to these expanding dendritic compartments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4279-4292
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Cell Science
Issue number23
StatePublished - 2015


  • Dendrite
  • Drosophila
  • Exocyst
  • Munc18-1
  • Neurodegeneration
  • STXBP1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology

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    Peng, Y., Lee, J., Rowland, K., Wen, Y., Hua, H., Carlson, N., Lavania, S., Parrish, J. Z., & Kim, M. D. (2015). Regulation of dendrite growth and maintenance by exocytosis. Journal of Cell Science, 128(23), 4279-4292.